BANK OF CHINA'S 100TH ANNIVERSARY by Hill & Knowlton for Bank Of China

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BANK OF CHINA'S 100TH ANNIVERSARY

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Industry Banking & Financial Services
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market China
Agency Hill & Knowlton
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Financial Services, incl. Investor Relations and Corporate Finance
Advertiser: BANK OF CHINA
Product/Service: BANK OF CHINA
Agency: HILL+KNOWLTON STRATEGIES
Account Director: Donglai Yuan (Hill+Knowlton Strategies)
Senior Account Executive: Miaomiao Liu (Hill+Knowlton Strategies)
Account Executive: Sea Xiao (Hill+Knowlton Strategies)
Media placement: Digital PR - - 10 September 2011

Summary of the Campaign

The Bank of China (BOC) turned 100 in 2012. China’s oldest and most internationally-connected bank wanted to show off its rich history and global service capabilities, while at the same time changing its perception of being staid, and appealing to a younger audience.
Given that China’s most trusted microblogging network, Sina Weibo, had over 250m registered users in China in 2011, it was chosen as the campaign platform for the 100th anniversary campaign. The new and improved BOC was positioned as a modern institution that provided its customers with a high quality, personalized service and a strong global presence.

The anniversary campaign included:
1. A microblog account populated with a series of 10 short films that provided a behind-the-scenes look at the bank;
2. A spotlight on BOC branches in overseas markets, to highlight its global network.

The campaign told BOC’s unique story in a creative way by leveraging its biggest strength: its employees. It created engaging content that was made shareable by consumers via their own digital media platforms.

The short films were shared over 6,400 times and received over 1,300 comments. The 100,000-follower target was more than doubled in just 4 months, and this number continues to rise.

The Situation
The Bank of China (BOC) turned 100 in 2012. China’s oldest and most internationally connected bank wanted to show off its rich history and varied global service capabilities, while at the same time changing its perception of being old-fashioned, and appealing to a younger audience.

Until then, most banks in China had relied upon traditional print-based communications, and this was always uni-directional: from the bank to its customers.

Bank of China wanted to adopt a more holistic and inclusive approach to its stakeholder communications, and wanted to build its customer base in China with a specific focus on a younger demographic.

The Goal
The main objectives of the 100th anniversary campaign were to:
• Leverage the milestone to create a new, more modern image of the BOC;
• Drive brand preference, especially among a younger audience in China;
• Provide a more comprehensive understanding about the bank’s rich history and varied global service capabilities, and offer the target compelling reasons to choose BOC as their bank both at home and abroad.

The Strategy
In 2011, China had the world’s largest online population – a staggering 513m – that represented almost 40% of the country’s population. Given the Chinese youth’s predisposition to following brands through social media, it became clear that digital was going to be the most effective channel to engage with BOC’s target audience.

Microbloggers are also the fastest growing group of internet users in China. China’s most-trusted microblogging network, Sina Weibo, had over 250m users in 2011; this made it the perfect platform for the BOC's 100th anniversary campaign. We wanted to humanize BOC and build its image as a modern, caring, global bank by highlighting its key strengths - its employees and its unique service offerings - to consumers via channels where they were already engaged. The content needed to be shareable, so that active consumers could easily engage their own personal networks to further drive awareness of BOC.

Execution

To celebrate BOC’s centennial anniversary, we developed a social media campaign to reintroduce the BOC to its current and potential customers. The new and improved BOC was positioned as a modern and efficient institution that provided its customers with high service standards, a multitude of personalized offerings, and strong and varied global service capabilities.

The anniversary campaign included the following parameters:
1. A microblog account for the BOC on Sina Weibo, populated with a series of 10 short films, that captured a behind-the-scenes look at the bank, and the unique perspectives and opinions of the bank’s employees. The personalized employee-stories helped to humanize BOC and deepen consumers' understanding of its superior service standards compared to other Chinese banks;
2. A spotlight on BOC branches in its overseas markets, to highlight its strong global service capabilities.

Documented Results
The Bank of China Weibo account acted as its interface with consumers; this was a first for a Chinese bank, and helped establish BOC as a modern institution.
In just 4 months following the campaign launch, the microblog account gained 254,994 followers. This number represents more than double the pre-launch's 100,000-follower target. Moreover, most of the followers are active users and continue to engage with the microblog content. The short films were shared over 6,400 times and received over 1,300 comments. To provide a context, Cartier’s official Weibo recently shared a 3-minute film, L’Odysée de Cartier, that, according to the company, took one of the world’s best film-makers over 2 years to create. The video has been reposted 1,093 times and has received 220 comments to-date; each BOC film has seen an average of 800 reposts and 160 comments. This shows that the campaign content truly engaged its target audience.